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Nightfly's TV Week in Review #16 (10/24/10) - Terriers, Caprica, Nikita & more!

Written by Nightfly on Friday, November 05 2010 and posted in Features

Outhouse tvphile Nightfly reviews his favorite shows from the previous week of primetime television.

Nightfly's TV Week in Review #16 (week of 10/24/10)
written by Nightfly

This is Halloween!!  Happy Pumpkin Day!!  This column represents another rare week in which no network appears more than once on my Top 6 Scripted List, though FOX's Raising Hope claims half of my Sitcom slots for a first time (filling the gap left by Running Wilde's absence).  Director John Dahl, my Terriers Hero, appears on the Scripted List twice this week, a feat previously achieved only by Danny Cannon (Dark Blue, Nikita).  Dahl came seriously close to setting a new record, having also directed this week's transformative Hellcats story that came closest (ever) to making my List.  Dahl earned a permanent soft spot in my heart this week for giving me a favorite show back, after I'd begun stepping away from it altogether.  SyFy shamed itself again by once more screwing over Caprica despite that network's obvious ability to give it more time. WTF?  Top Chef: Just Desserts takes my Guilty Pleasure Award for the astonishing fifth week in a row! (there's only been seven total epis so far).  For my Guest Star of the Week honors I did what Project Runway refused to, I made it a tie.  Football and/or DCC fans, if it hasn't aired already, you won't wanna miss tonight's haltime show,.. and for the horror fans among us, tonight's premiere of AMC's The Walking Dead is an absolute 'must-see.'  Wow, there's a ton of shows on tonight!  I'm afraid, due to a packed ten o'clock hour, I'll be catching those zombies later online or OnDemand.
* Potential Spoilers Below *

6. The Good Guys - "The Whistleblower" (FOX)
I'm not much of a shipper, really, but I can't pretend I haven't been waiting for Liz to break up with Kyle since this series' summer premiere.  Monet Mazur (Whirlygirl) guests as 'The Cleaner', a gorgeous assassin with kill orders to take out Lizzy's Kyle.  Dan, on a peeping tom stakeout, spies her (silent) wetwork leading to a whirlwind investigation involving Kyle and a number of his co-workers.  Liz stays deceived to Kyle's criminal collusion until he calls Jack a coward - something Liz, obviously, knows better than to believe.  Jere Burns (Breaking Bad) and Matt Winston (Barry Munday) join the mayhem is this awesome episode showing the unit's at-home cohesion, including Julius & Sam.  The efficiency with which Kyle was discarded, both by the writers and by Liz, impressed.

5. Caprica - "False Labor" (SyFy)

Paula Malcomson (John From Cincinnati) fans should not miss this week's gripping episode showcasing one of her most multi-dimensional performances I've ever seen!  Daniel's lossless future rests on his ability to coach genuine memories from a frustrated Amanda sim, while Amanda true does what it takes to gain full trust within Clarice's family home.  Sam's nearly killed by rival gangsters whom he not long after terminates via Cylon!  Director John Dahl (The Last Seduction) always gets the best from his actors and this exquisite epi was no exception.
* Sadly, SyFy announced Caprica's removal from their schedule until sometime early in 2011, when they claim they'll air Zoe's & Tamara's teamup and the remainder of the season to completion.  Add your name to the Save Caprica Campaign @ http://savecaprica.blogspot.com/.
Sasha Roiz & Alessandra Torresani (8/31/10)

4. Boardwalk Empire - "Family Limitation" (HBO)
I did not know Lysol was ever used as birth control, did you?  Amidst the gangster gunfire and titilating nudity, this period piece has given me somber (if not sober) new insight into women's roles in America before winning the vote.  This week Margaret quit her job at the dress shop after a particularly revealing visit from Lucy, and {unknowingly} moves into a building full of rich men's "concubines."  Telling personal effects reinforce the love Pearl felt for Jimmy, inspiring him to avenge her attack and take Greektown (for his boss) in the process.  Pitt & Graham share effective intensity, Shannon (as Van Alden) takes it out on himself, and lovely Gretchen Mol (The Notorious Bettie Page) is, as always, divine.  Easily one of the strongest entries from this powerful drama yet.
Boardwalk Empire
Kelly Macdonald & Gretchen Mol (9/15/10)

3. Nikita - "The Recruit" (CW)
I figured washouts were disposed of, but even I didn't foresee their use as unwitting human-bombs!?  Percy's poor management risks Division once again as Niki thwarts his plans for Sara, and a trigger-happy graduate gets (murderously) disgruntled over unwanted guard duty.  Nikita's warnings to Alex about friendship and the cost of getting close directly hit home in this highly ballistic and evocative thrillride.  Beyond the bombing, fighting, and running gunbattles, the quiet scenes between Niki and Sara are what made this moving mission a favorite for me.  Eagle Egilsson (CSI: Miami) expertly captures Robbie's riveting breakdown and Alex's pained inability to stop it.  Maggie Q and Lyndsy Fonseca were truly impressive in this one, as were both guest recruits.  Daniel's appearance at the end (admittedly) brought a tear to my eye in Amanda Segel's very best script to date.

2. No Ordinary Family - "No Ordinary Quake" (ABC)
After two weeks in exile this sensational series returns to my column with my favorite episode since its premiere.  From the opening scene featuring J.J. guiding Jim through a precariously puzzling rescue, to his final football game which he wins without cheating, Jimmy Bennett scores in this transitional chapter of the Powell's evolving story.  Stephanie seemed more present this week, despite her work obligations, helping Jim snag the evidence in addition to displaying her motherly intuition.  The nearly dried tear in her eye when telling Jim of J.J.'s secret reminded me why Benz ranks among the best.  Jim finally tells Steph about the other supers, and Daphne learns - rather tragically - that "doing the right thing isn't always simple."  Panabaker's stirring "after school special", guesting Amy Gumenick, hints at the dramatic potential Daphne's specific power promises, and showcased her acting talent splendidly.  Chiklis' pre-game talk before J.J.'s last game was touching.  Having become a fan from The Shield and later F4, it's taken a bit of adjustment getting used to him in this less ferocious role.  James Earl (Glee) and Watcher Josh Stewart (Dirt) add to the drama, with powerful guest contributions by Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars) and Rachel Miner as Rebecca 'Sonic Quake Girl' Jessup.  Will we see more of Tessa (Keri Safran)?  I hope so, but certainly not if it means less Katie.  This epi so almost took my top spot it's not funny.
No Ordinary Family
Julie Benz & Kay Panabaker in "No Ordinary Quake"

1. Terriers - "Agua Caliente" (FX)
Indie auteur John Dahl (Rounders) impressed me with his directorial film debut and every film he's made since.  His first handful of films are my most beloved, though, more recently he's directed many of my favorite tv shows.  For example, this week's Caprica and Hellcats were helmed by him, as well as this most welcomed edition of Terriers.  Katie's recent storyline was overly sad; Laura Allen, like Aly Hannigan, is one of those actresses that physically hurts to watch weep.  I won't pretend I haven't been pissed at Minear lately for doing that to her character (and us).  Due to Hank's advice not to tell, I was growing angrier with him each week for her deteriorating {emotional} condition.  Thankfully, this story gloriously closed the door on that mournful chapter and showed the wonderfully dogged spirit of each lead character, informing and reassuring us that (collectively) they're strong 'n durable enough to take whatever their world throws at them.  Britt's criminal past and Hank's dualistic nature are serious faults to be sure, yet I'll admit, Katie's drunken infidelity bothered me more than a first season tv story, especially one without a horrific death, should... on the other hand Dahl's rich redemption of this underdog trio provided so satisfying a conclusion to that arc I'll no doubt remember it for a long long time. Great stuff.

Guilty Pleasure Award - Top Chef: Just Desserts - "Dessert Wars" (Bravo)
Cash was king in this week's deliciously enjoyable episode featuring TC:JD's inaugural "Dessert Wars."  Team 'Go Diva' triumph in the pastry relay race Quickfire Challenge, winning three thousand dollars apiece, due to a failing technique of Morgan's.  Morgan's been earning negative comments from me lately yet he redeemed himself well in this pastry shop Elimination Challenge.  A bonus prize of thirty thousand dollars, per cheftestant, went to Morgan's Team Black (a.k.a. Team 'Whisk Me Away'), with he and Danielle doing notably strong work.  Danielle's thirty grand prize represents the first bonus cash she's won, which (lucky for her) just happens to also be the largest cash prize so far!  Team 'Go Diva' unfortunately goes bye-bye, much to Yigit's grief, as the judges dissolve the trio by sending Heather home (for the second time this season).  Gail Simmons delighted as usual.
Guest Star(s) of the Week: [tie]
Don Johnson on Eastbound & Down (HBO)
Bijou Phillips on Raising Hope (FOX)

Trivia Question of the Week:
Julie Benz stars in primetime's latest superhero hit, No Ordinary Family.
In 1981 Wiiliam Katt won fame playing The Greatest American Hero.
Name the deadly movie in which Benz and Katt co-appear?

Current Medal Standing:

BlueStreak: mvp
Dragavon: mvpmvpmvpmvp
Fintan: mvp
GOSD: mvp
misac: mvp
Psivage: mvp
Punchy: mvp

~Last week's answer: Mental  {Winner: GOSD}
* Outstanding Sitcoms *

4. How I Met Your Mother - "Baby Talk" (CBS)
Barney nearly bites off more than he can chew in accepting a Baby Talk Challenge, while Marshall and Lily employ warring tactics to determine the sex of their hoped for baby.  Robin's co-anchor Becky (Laura Bell Bundy) disturbingly lives a Baby Talk life which rather quickly drives off even (malleable) Ted.  Plakson & Fagerbakke guest as Marshall's parents in this childishly fun installment focused on Lily & Marshall's hunt for baby names.  Lily's classroom flashbacks made me laugh out loud, which is in no way unusual when enjoying this heartwarming series.  Plastic Barney in the future, and Marshall's balls dipped in ice were also a hoot 'n a half.  Viking wisdom is imparted, Aly namedrops Tara, and Robin saves Barney from himself.
Cobie Smulders & Neil Patrick Harris

3. Raising Hope - "Happy Halloween" (FOX)
Woodward (as Sabrina) shines and brings out the luster in Jimmy in the only Halloween themed tale on any of my lists this week.  Ryan Doom (Red Velvet) returns as Wyatt in this party driven entry with great moments for Maw Maw and fatherly sentiment sweetly delivered by Burt.  Sabrina's relationship with Wyatt is examined and found wanting.  Maw Maw's trick or treating, Virginia's teepeeing the cop's tree, and Burt's devious pranks made this hilarious half hour super-special.  For all its comedic contrast, I wish I could sew as well as Jimmy did - it's a skill I've been meaning to pick up.  As Sabrina demonstrates the kind of quality-friend she is, Jimmy gallantly proves she (as the song goes) has someone to watch over her.  Two Batmans are better than one, and when Robin's as cute as Woodward you're asking for #pumpkinheadinmypants.
Raising Hope
Shannon Woodward & Lucas Neff in "Happy Halloween"

2. Raising Hope - "Family Secrets" (FOX)
Episodes with Bijou are always the best, by definition, and this rousing example proved the rule.  Tired of being punk'd his whole life, Jimmy ignores Maw Maw's advice to leave well enough alone and enlists Sabrina's help finding his Grandma (Maw Maw's daughter) he'd always been told was dead.  Beautiful Bijou Phillips reprises her role as Lucy (from beyond the grave) via lessons left to Princess Beyonce on videotapes.  Leachman & Dillahunt were funniest besides Bijou, in this ultimately heartfelt lullaby about the white lies we tell, and why.

1. Eastbound & Down - "Chapter 11" (HBO)
Almost on cue, as soon as Kenny open-heartedly tells his dad he loves him, the cops show up to arrest him thanks to the betrayal (for cash) by him; Codenamed 'Emerald'.  Prior to his dad's sudden betrayal they share good times riding ATVs and swapping stories about their shared love for "terrain vehicles."  Don Johnson's been fun in this series but here he especially excelled.
After a caustic bout of montezuma's revenge, Stevie confesses to Kenny that he lied about April's marriage to Cutler... she's not married.  And now that Stevie's known the love of a woman (Maria) he understands why Kenny must go to her and reclaim the love that is his destined fate.  Though Eduardo's no kind of dad, he does drop wisdom on Kenny in the truth that he's "living a lie" in Mexico for his true destiny lies in America.  Kenny's two rules about tagteams and El Diablo seem reasonable, yet his admission, "I don't wannna be a lying, cheating, backstabbing, gigilo anymore" would indicate hell has finally frozen over.  This outrageous epi ends with Powers calling April telling her machine, "I'm comin' for you."
* Reality Shows*

3. Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team 5 (CMT)
Among the singled out girls, for better or for worse, are rookies Stephanie Heymann, Courtney Cook, Elizabeth Reuter, and Nicole Bulcher who for some cracked-out reason I repeatedly called 'Rachel Bulcher' in my DCC daily update review.  Count on me to correct my mistakes when I catch them, in this case I typed that review just before going to bed after having been up over 24hrs (I know, wah).  At least this way charming Nicole gets that many more mentions in my reviews!  Nicole Bulcher seems really sweet and can't help but cry after her scathing critique following the first day of training camp.  Besides Judy calling her "one of the weakest", she also predicts Bulcher will be "the first to go" - rating her dance skills at a 2 out of 10.  Considering Nicole Bulcher's been dancing since she was a toddler that criticism hit her especially hard.  Gorgeous Brooke Sorenson, veteran squad member, is also profiled in her DCC driven apartment.  Eliminations begin next so expect a parade of shattered dreams, broken & bedazzled, usually vowing to return next year.  Good luck to them all!
* Judy's daughter Cassie blogged this which I figured I'd pass along;
"Since I have been a cheerleader, we have not had a game day fall on Halloween. Because of this, I haven't ever been a part of the Halloween halftime as an official Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. However, I performed in several Halloween halftimes with my dance studio when I was younger.  This year we are bringing back the Halloween halftime with new flavor added! Our themed halftime has some of the old creepy songs like Monster Mash and some new songs like Disturbia. We also have the scary "dead people" coming to be a part of the performance again! They are great actors...they even scare us! It should be tons of fun and a little bit creepy.  We are extremely excited to create this special performance for all our fans. If you can't "trick or treat" with us, be sure and check back to the DCC website to see video from the game."

2. Top Gear (BBC-America)
This week's uncut entry followed James May as he set aside his Captain Slow mantle to become one of production car history's fastest men on Earth, driving a new Bugatti Veyron SuperSport up to 258 mph on a set of twenty thousand dollar tires.  Stig steers the SuperSport to the top of his Lap Board with a total time of 1.16.8, beating the Gumpert by a full two tenths of a second.  Hammond wins an unorthodox race vs. extreme snowmobilers, though the highlight of the night - clearly - is the joint appearance of film stars Tom Cruise and sassy Cameron Diaz.  This week's "stars in a reasonably priced car" both take top honors on the Celebrity Lap Board though Cruise winds up with the fastest time between them (by a mere one second).  Cameron can still claim best laptime for a 'four-on-the-floor' run, since Tom impossibly spends moments on two wheels only.
Top Gear
Cameron Diaz, The Stig, & Tom Cruise

1. Project Runway - "Finale" (Lifetime)
Talented Gretchen Jones outran the thunder, her mid-season slump, and the utter collapse of her personal life to win the coveted title of Project Runway Winner!  I wouldnt've been upset if Mondo had won, I'm sure he and Andy will have great opportunities now in the professional realm - apparently Michael C. has scored some kind of cool job already that while mentioned, remains unnamed.  Tim Gunn and all the judges reflect a sincere pride in the obvious quality designs produced for these finalist's final PR show.  The lengthy judging debate lived up to the hype, as Nina and Kors stood behind Gretchen while Heidi and guest Jessica Simpson steadfastly backed Mondo's Mexican inspired collection.  Jessica defies her 'blonde' image here, contributing intelligently to the judge's deliberations.  Things seemingly worked out for everybody with Costello's new job, Mondo clearly getting his family's support, Andy will do well after this, and Gretchen beating back her personal misfortunes by accomplishing the dream of a lifetime.

Shows most closely missing my List(s) include; $#*! My Dad Says, The Good Wife, Brothers & Sisters, Sherlock, Hellcats, Desperate Housewives and Hawaii Five-0.  A couple sitcoms fell through the cracks, as did a few daily update reviews but I'm gonna go ahead and blame it on my recent fascination with Twitter.  I've been a member for a little over 30hrs now, and I still have a thing or two to learn.  Please bear with me.  And consider following my tweets to get notified when I add my daily updates, and overdue supplementals (towards the end of each week).  I'll also use my Twitter feed to retweet tv & entertainment news I wish to share with you all.
Thanks to Derek at Clicker I've started getting more hits to my column, so Welcome to any new readers!!  Pitifully, I sometimes still find typos in my Sunday columns as late as Wednesday - please let me know of typos or errors that need correcting.  Trust that I'll take it as a kindness.

Sincere Thanks for your interest in this weekly column (updated daily).  Consider returning next Sunday for my 17th installment and thanks again for your support!
@ Twitter

Written or Contributed by: Nightfly

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About the Author - Nightfly

A proud member of NBCUniversal's and A+E Television Networks’ Digital Media Teams, Nightfly routinely interviews producers, creators and stars of various network programs and films with a concentrated emphasis on the Syfy channel. Formally educated in Communications, Computer Science and Music, his résumé reflects more than a decade broadcasting in the fields of television and radio. With pieces routinely published at ScreenFad and Press Pass L.A., his primary areas of interest include TV, film, music, web series, comic books, fashion, pen 'n paper RPG gaming as well as various other pop-culture topics. An avid Twitter user, Nightfly supports the arts, the entertainment community, numerous charities and crowdfunding projects through his journalistic netizenship and non-partisan, multicultural-centric activism.

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